An addiction psychiatrist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse and the mental health conditions that accompany it. Addiction psychiatrists treat people of all ages who have addictions to illegal drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications complicated by coexisting mental health disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
An addiction psychiatrist typically:
Evaluates a patient’s medical history, history of substances the patient is using or has used, and mental health status
Diagnoses psychiatric diseases and conditions including substance addiction, depression, dementia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, sleep disorders, and eating disorder
Assesses a person’s ability to perform everyday living activities, such as eating, dressing and driving
Orders and interprets laboratory and imaging tests
Provides comprehensive substance abuse treatment and addiction therapy, such as talk therapy. In some cases, the doctor will refer patients to a dedicated addiction therapist for more frequent counseling sessions.
Prescribes medications, helps manage their usage, determines if the medication is working, and monitors side effects
Provides detoxification treatment to safely wean patients off the substances
Consults with other members of a patient’s medical team including primary care doctors, neurologists, neuropsychologists, social workers, home healthcare nurses, and occupational therapists
Addiction psychiatrists may also be known by the following names: addictionologist, addiction doctor, and substance abuse doctor.
There are 239 specialists practicing Addiction Psychiatry in California with an overall average rating of 3.7 stars. There are 68 hospitals in California with affiliated Addiction Psychiatry specialists, including Cedars - Sinai Medical Center, Kern Medical Center and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital.